Published: 10:51 AM - 04-22-11
An ancient mystery unfolds scattered across Laos’s Xieng Khouang plain. Known as the Plain of Jars, this bizarre archaeological collection of thousands of giant stone jars made from sandstone, granite and calcified coral is often referred to as an “Asian version of Stonehenge.”
A source of fascination for archeologists and scientists since its discovery back in the late 1920s, these jars, which weigh up to 13 tons each and are between 1 and 3 meters high (about 31/2 feet to more than 10 feet), were made more than two centuries ago, but their true purpose remains shrouded in myth and mystery.
Various theories have emerged concerning the original purpose of the Plain of Jars. French archaeologist, Madeleine Colani, who was the person to ever explore the Plain of Jars, believed these megaliths were created by a civilization long passed into the mists of time and that they were used to store cremated remains and placed in a precise pattern that follows an ancient trade route.
Only three of the more than four hundred sites that have been discovered around the Plain of Jars are open to the public. The largest one numbers more than 250 stone jars. It is referred to as Site#1 and is located near the town of Phonsavan.
Although remotely located, the Plain of Jars were more than touched by the war in Vietnam. During the 1960s and 1970s, more bombs were dropped on Laos than any other country in the history of mankind. The stone jars bore their own battle scars from the different impacts in the form of cracks in their formations and giant craters formed between them.
The Plain of Jars no doubt would receive more tourists if not for the fact that more than 30% of the bombshells dropped did not explode on contact and are still buried all around the area. It is estimated that as many as 250,000 hidden booby-traps still remain and it is reported that accidents happen almost weekly.
Perhaps one day we will unravel the fascinating enigma of the Plain of Jars. Until then…watch your step!
Source & References: MDeeDubroff
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